3 Hurdles Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Overcame To Be One Of The Biggest Movies Of The Summer

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy opened in the United States last week, and looks to have a very bright future, seeing that based on advanced buzz along, Marvel has already locked in a sequel for 2017 while Thursday it earned $11.2 million, besting established franchises like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a Thursday debut.

Worldwide, its earned over $160 million; pretty impressive for a movie that’s based on a bunch of characters literally no one was familiar with before the movie.

Though what’s most interesting is how risky a venture it actually is, for I think three reasons:

  • First, there’s nothing like Guardians of the Galaxy.  Marvel Studios features, from Iron Man to The Avengers, have always featured a balance of action as well as humor.  That’s has always been a part of the Marvel formula, but Guardians is different.  Some have described it as a comedy, and while there’s plenty that funny, it’s more a case of viewers caring and being invested in the characters–particularly Groot and Rocket–that they come off as fully-realized characters that just happen to be a raccoon and an alien tree, as opposed to just a bunch of pixels.
  • Second, as many have stated prior, there are no recognizable characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (other than Thanos, and I think it’s reasonably same to assume that no one is seeing it for him–which is something that Sony should keep in mind before doing a movie based on The Sinister Six, most of whom are unknown to most viewers and whom are also villains) which goes without saying is a huge risk, made even more so when you take into account that it was directed by James Gunn, who prior directed two smaller films, Slither and Super, which cost 17.5 million to produce.

For both movies.  While Guardians cost $170 million.

And when you combine this fact with the fact that Gunn doesn’t particularly like making movies (around the 12: 58 mark) then the odds were more than even that Guardians could have potentially been Marvel’s weakest performer, if not a box office failure.

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Warner Bros/DC Entertainment Has To Blink Against Marvel Studios/Disney

Batman Vs. Superman

image courtesy of Den Of Geek

Have you ever dealt with someone who was so set in their ways that they ignored any common sense response to their predicament?

That’s what i feel about what’s going on with Warner Bros. scheduling their upcoming “Superman Vs. Batman” against the currently untitled Captain America 3.  Disney had originally had that space staked out for an unnamed Marvel Studios movie, and Warners put their upcoming blockbuster on the same spot.

It’s a very bad move on their part for five reasons, off the top of my head.

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Is Doing Really, Really Well.  Shockingly Well, In Fact

“Man Of Steel” earned just over $668 million during its theatrical run.  That’s a lot of money, though you have to put it into context.  Superman was created in 1933 and eventually became one of the most popular characters in comic history.  He’s an American icon, but prior to “Man Of Steel” he appeared in “Superman Returns,” which underperformed at the box office, earning just over $391 million on a $270 million dollar budget.

“Man Of Steel” almost doubled those figures, but not remarkably so (it helped that it was also slightly cheaper to produce, at $225 million).

Now, Captain America was never as popular as Superman, and interest in the character has ebbed and flowed.  But the thing is the latest film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” has earned almost $604 million after less than a month (twenty days, as of this writing).  It also cost less to produce, at $170 million, which seems to me to say that it is close to being as profitable as “Man Of Steel” RIGHT NOW, despite the fact that its theatrical run is no where close to being over (as evidence I should add that it’s been the number one film in the United States for about three weeks now).

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Movie Mistakes: ‘Iron Man 3′

Iron Patriot
Generally I don’t particularly care about these sorts of things, but having seen “Iron Man 3″ perhaps more times than should be legal, I noticed this little error.

Truth be told, it’s less of an error than the filmmakers apparently showing us what they can get away with when viewers are in awe over one of their favorite comic characters appearing on the big screen (for the fourth time).  What happens is that James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine/Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) is captured by Aldrich Killian/Fake Mandarin (Guy Pearce), who uses his Extremis-derived abilities to superheat a section of the armor, with the intention of forcing Rhodey to abandon it.

Killian knows that he’s damaging the surface of the armor, and so he strongly suggests that his henchman, Savin (James Badge Dale) had better be able to fix it.  Now, Savin may indeed be talented, but prior to this moment the movie gave no indication he also had some pretty awesome metallurgical, as well as painting, skills because the next time we see the Iron Patriot armor, there’s no sign that there was any damage at all.

I mean not even a smudge of the paint.  I also know that we’re watching a movie based on a comic book, but Savin making what looked like considerable damage disappear is probably the most outlandish thing in the movie.  Though you have to admit that the man is talented, and if Tony needed any help in his lab, he could do worse than hire him.

Iron Patriot

By the way, anyone that has been following the Iron Man films–Yes, even “Iron Man 2!”–knows that Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) has an miniature Arc reactor in his chest, which keeps a piece of shrapnel from entering his heart, which is pretty much at the center of the chest (which is why the armored suits he wears don’t have the chest repulser off to the left or right).

In the penultimate act of the movie, where (Spoiler Alert!) where Tony Stark and Rhodes are squaring off against the Extremis-enhanced forces of the Fake Mandarin (that’s not his name, but if you have seen the Marvel One-Shot, “All Hail The King” you know it’s true) the Arc reactor is in the center of his chest, where the Universe and Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber and Don Heck intended it to be…

Arc Reactor III

Only to find that in later scenes it has somehow shifted considerably–and quite noticeably–to the right.  It’s not like it’s now on his shoulder or something, but it’s definitely no longer in the center of his chest.

Arc Reactor II

Occam’s Razor posits that when faced with explaining why or how an event happened, the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions is more likely than not the correct one.  So, considering that that Arc reactor prop was entirely practical, it was probably somehow adhered to Robert Downey, Jr.’s chest, and with all the activity that the film required from him, shifted a bit.

And you know what, I’m OK with that because what the filmmakers could have went with was a CGI Arc reactor, as opposed to a practical one, though the problems it would bring would probably quickly disabuse them of the notion.  For instance, if it were computer-generated, it would have to look slightly different every time it appeared on screen because of changes in lighting conditions as well as his body shifting.

It’s certainly doable, by why would anyone want the added cost, when you could create an Arc reactor medallion, have him wear it, and save yourself (probably) thousands of dollars.

And besides, we’ve seen a movie that was so chock-full of computer generated effects that even the costume that the actor wore wasn’t real.

And we all know how well that went.

Like this movie, I am awesome!

A Movie About Me!  What Could Go Wrong?

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ Trailer 3

Can this movie look any cooler?  This time the trailer seems to feature the Falcon, who we see going against the Winter Soldier.  We also get to see the Black Widow in action, administering the Widow’s Bite to an unfortunate victim.

I understand that I am not exactly the audience that these trailers are being directed at–I was sold every since the first one–but I’d wish they’d stop showing them already because each one reveals little bits of the movie that I wish I had not seen prior to seeing it.

And it’s not like my will is strong enough to just stop watching them.

It’s like that scene in “The Avengers,” where the Hulk saves Iron Man from crashing to the earth after he directed a nuclear missile at the Chitari space station.  It was such an amazing shot that when I saw it in context I was blown away.

Though I would have been even more amazed by it if I had not seen any of it prior.

And You Thought Being Batman Was Expensive…

image courtesy of Hot Toys

As expensive as Batman’s kit is–and it’s very expensiveit doesn’t hold a candle to what it would cost to outfit yourself as Marvel’s Iron Man.  For instance, just the Arc reactor alone would cost, according to those enterprising folk at Moneysupermarket.com, a cool $36 million.

And while that’s probably reasonable when you consider that it’s an inexhaustible energy source, your costs only begin there.

• Back and shoulder mounted ailerons: $2 million

• Wrist mounted anti-tank missle launchers (x2) – $3 million

• Shoulder mounted anti-personnel guns – $400,00 (a bargain)

Luckily Tony Stark, worth $9.4 billion according to Forbes, has more than enough resources to make such an investment.  Bruce Wayne, by way of comparison, is worth $7 billion, though I suspect that is before events conclude in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’

I was watching Netflix, when I saw one of the new additions was “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” a cartoon that’s, essentially, a twenty-three minute advert for Marvel Studios upcoming ‘Avengers’ movie this May.

The show is featured on Disney XD, which is owned by Disney (as is Marvel).

I didn’t expect all that much, but was pleasantly surprised to find it not only entertaining, but most importantly, well-drawn.

It has also introduced some Marvel characters that I have not seen in any movies–yet–like The Black Panther, The Wasp and Ant-Man.  I  knew that I was going to enjoy it when I noticed that one of the villains, The Leader, was voiced by none other than Jeffrey Combs and one of my favorite evil organizations, A.I.M or Advanced Idea Mechanics, playing a pivotal role in an episode.

Speaking of A.I.M, I am surprised that they have not appeared in an Iron Man feature because they would be prime candidates to use–or misuse–Tony Stark’s technology.

Avengers Assembled!

Edited 7/24 1729

Here’s a little something to tide you over till Monday.

The Black Widow, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Hawkeye, and Captain America make up The Avengers, and the introduction of what is known as The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An interconnected series of films–”Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Thor” and “Captain America”–that lead to the massive event that will be “The Avengers.”

Here’s some art, courtesy of Marvel.com, of the heavy hitters that will be gracing the silver screen in 2013.

I should mention that Nick Fury–seeing that he’s the head of S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Hazard Intervention Logistics Directorate)–is technically not an Avenger, though he did get the ball rolling, so to speak.